Faith & the Environment


The coal industry in Illinois costs more than it contributes to the state’s economy according to a recent report by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and Downstream Strategies.

The destruction observed at the Will Scarlet and Eagle River coal mines demands that we see pollution as a theological problem.

Everyone who believes in democracy should at least once in their lifetime (and preferably more than once) journey to Springfield with PCG/CRS. Citizen lobbying is both good for the soul and fun.

Illinois is poised to lead the nation by enacting the strongest and most comprehensive fracking regulations in the country. Tireless advocacy from across the state resulted in negotiations that produced a bi-partisan regulatory bill introduced last week in the General Assembly with support from the environmental community, as well as the oil and gas industry.

So for the duration of Lent, I am giving up the temptation to fall into despair. Giving up the temptation to sit down upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of Earth.

I’ve been thinking a lot about water lately--how I take it for granted, how I just assume there will always be enough of it, and how it never occurs to me that the water coming out of my faucet could be anything but clean.

Like humanity, nature bears God’s imprint and likeness. It can never be a mere play-thing at the total and utter discretionary use of humans. Instead, we humans are a part of God's creation as a whole.

Last week Thursday, March 29th, 150 environmental advocates from across Illinois took to the Capitol in Springfield. They spoke to their representatives and senators about the importance of regulating hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) in Illinois as well as the need to ensure that the Department of Natural Resources receives adequate funding to maintain state parks, openlands, and their capacity to serve as regulators for various industries in Illinois.

Last week, residents of Chicago received the wonderful news that the coal-fired power plants located within city limits would be shutting down within the next two years. Fisk Generating Station, in the Pilsen neighborhood, will close by December of this year; Crawford Generating Station, located in Little Village, will shut down no later than December of 2014.

Recently, as some of you know, I was arrested along with 1,250 others in a non-violent civil disobedience action in front of the White House. The general purpose of the so-called Tar Sands Action was to remind President Obama of his campaign pledge to make this generation “the first to free itself from the tyranny of oil”--all his words.


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